BP, Coast Guard Attempt to Censor Images

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The horror emerging from the depths of the Gulf of Mexico continues to lay its nightmare before a nation – and a world – of stunned witnesses. With the tragedy of native waterfowl now being found smothered in petroleum along the marshes of Louisiana comes continued reports that the American people have been prevented by BP officials from seeing images of the slaughter. According to reports by photojournalists, television producers and others at the scene, both BP and Coast Guard officials in control have restricted access to oil stained-beaches, have rejected news organization requests for flyovers and have, in several cases, prohibited the taking of pictures of oil-coated wildlife.

Coast Guard spokesmen have defended flight restrictions as a necessary safety precaution. However, incidents of news control have been reported on the ground as oil began reaching shore. Last week, a CBS News crew was reportedly threatened with arrest when trying to film oil-covered beaches in areas impacted by the disaster.

Rob Wyman, Lieutenant Commander with the U.S. Coast Guard addressed the issue saying: “Neither BP nor the U.S. Coast Guard, who are responding to the spill, have any rules in place that would prohibit media access to impacted areas and we were disappointed to hear of this incident. The only time anyone would be asked to move from an area would be if there were safety concerns, or they were interfering with response operations…”

Though public safety can be a legitimate issue, especially considering the toxic nature of the oil and dispersants used to fight the spill, the American public must remain vigilant and be ready to express their outrage if officials continue to arrogate to themselves the right to control the press. It must be remembered that in nearly every turn of this sordid affair, BP had to be coerced into providing correct information – such as the estimates of the amount of oil being spilled, a critical data set that would impact their degree of liability. It was only through the persistent demands of Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) that the public was allowed to see live images from the video cameras that are trained on the leaking pipe around the clock.

The images that have made it through in the last few days are nothing short of devastating. Now, as the black tide begins to turn toward the coast of Florida, perhaps the world will look at the pictures and will, at long last, truly speak the words: it’s time to end our dependence on fossil fuels.

photo: IBRRC

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  • http://twitter.com/missjane_va missjane_va

    When censorship starts we need to be very concerned. RT @CleanTechies News: BP, Coast Guard Attempt to Censor Images http://bit.ly/98kVJn

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  • http://deepwaterhorizonresponse.com LCDR James Hoeft

    Paul,

    These images are clearly disturbing and the fact that the leak has not been stopped is frustrating to everyone.

    However, as my colleague, LCDR Wyman said in his statement, it is not the Unified Area Command’s policy to prevent access. It is our role to facilitate as much access as possible, without endangering safety or interfering with clean-up efforts.

    Thank you for your interest in the spill. I hope you and your readers are going to http://deepwaterhorizonresponse.com and the associated social media sites to get the latest information on the response.

    ~LCDR Jim Hoeft, Unified Area Command

  • http://www.greenhomedesign.co.uk A Linde

    Flight restrictions? How can flying over an oil spill be considered a safety issue? Deep inside I knew we would come to censorship in the end. However, I don’t think any censorship can change the fact that we’ve received a wake-up call. Many people will change the way of thinking after this spill.

  • CanadaDoug

    Poor

    Gulf residents. First they get f***ed By Tony Hayward. Then they have to beg him for alms standing in a welfare line for a payout. Then clean up workers turn away concerned media. Don’t you see the irony? American clean up workers kissing the hand that screwed them and telling their fellow Americans to f*** off.

    Well I guess those mouthy, money grubbing family protective workers aren’t too good with Google. All they have to do is find out that most all the clean up workers with the Exxon Valdez ARE DEAD! from lingering health problems related to inhalation of oil off gassing.

    Want more. Turns out that there wasn’t much dispersant used in Alaska because there was too much wave action. Lots of Corexant 9500 in the Gulf huh? A little research will show you that its 4 times as toxic as the oil that killed the clean up workers in Alaska.

    Then there is the synergistic action of dispersant and oil. Betcha that not only are the clean up workers doomed to unbelievable long term suffering by their efforts to feed their families, but those families are also doomed to suffer health problems because of the coming oil/dispersant rains.

    If I had a family in the Gulf Coast I would have left about 65 days ago…..FOR GOOD.

    Then what do I know. I’m just an dumb foreigner.